There is only one thing I hate more than a dream without a goal.
A dream with weak goals.
If your dreams and plans lack goals then you know where to start. But a dream with weak goals looks like you are taking action but in reality you’re just spinning your wheels.
You might be suffering from weak goals. Let’s see.
Pull out your written goals. Hint: You are already hurting yourself If your goals for January, 2014 aren’t written down.
Go through your list and ask:
1. Do your goals have a deadline?
Goals without a specific deadlines aren’t real. They are just good intentions and promises ready to be broken.
2. Are your goal descriptions clear and specific?
One goal I have for the year is to produce 50 podcasts by December 31st. I can’t hide from this goal. It’s specific with a deadline. Vague goals won’t motivate you to take specific action.
3. Are your goals small time?
Small goals are ignored. They fail to inspire the passion and determination required to grind out the work needed to move you toward your goal. I once had a goal to “write something every day”. I forgot about this goal in about two days. Why? The goal was small time. It didn’t matter if I accomplished it. I changed the goal to:
“Write and ship one piece of content that motivates readers to dream big and take action weekly.” This goal connects with my passion and expertise. It will get done because it is a “big time goal”.
What is your big time goal?
4. Are your using goal “hand-me-downs?”
I have 3 boys that are growing like weeds. My oldest son gets the best clothes. New jeans, shoes, jackets, hats, you name it he’s got it. My middle son, get’s the good stuff that my oldest hasn’t ruined. My youngest…well…thankfully he doesn’t realize that his clothes are a little dated.
Hand-me down goals work great for the person who created them but they don’t quite fit you. Taking my goal of writing and shipping dream big content doesn’t fit you because it doesn’t quite connect with your own personal experience and ability.
Weak Blogs, Weak Brands and Weak Businesses Start with…
A struggling blog is easy to spot.
Scattered comments and spotty traffic points to confused readers. Readers are confused because the blog doesn’t have a focused content goal. Blog posts drift from one topic to the next completely disorienting regular readers and scaring off new visitors.
Threadbare editorial calendars points to a blogger who isn’t holding themselves accountable to ship relevant posts . Are you in this spot? Start with your goals. Do you have a weak post publishing goal? Yep, I know. Fix it.
Blogs are meant to grow. They are supposed to take your business or personal brand to the next level. Each blog post should position you as the expert in your niche. But, your blog will not do this for you if your goals are small time.
Give Your Goals a Makeover
Powerful Goals Start with a Breathtaking Dream
Goals need dreams. Big dreams inspire big goals that move you forward post by post, customer by customer, speaking gig by speaking gig until you achieve your goal. Once you’ve achieved the first goal, your dream pushes you to set the next one.
Create your breathtaking dream by:
Imagining who will benefit if you are successful. (Warning: if your answer is “me” then it will hard to build anything that matters)
Imagining who you will become. Everyday I remind myself that the man I want to become starts with the work I do today. Who do you want to be? Visualize the events you speak at, the books flying off the shelves, the business profiled in Fast Company. What type of person do you need to become to achieve this dream?
Describing how the world will work differently. Steve Jobs set out to make a dent in the universe. His people rallied around that goal. He changed the world because he saw how his customers could achieve their goals by having devices that empowered them by working beautifully.
How will the world work if you achieved your goals?
Will teenagers have a place to turn if they are bullied?
Will widowed fathers have a community of men ready to help and support them?
Will people start businesses and nonprofits that demonstrably strengthen their local community?
Think about that vision. Tell me. Can the world afford to see you fail?
Start With Now
Start making short-term goals. Don’t overwhelm yourself. Just decide what you will accomplish in the next 7, 15, and 30 days.
Get Leverage On Yourself
I’ve discussed the concept of personal leverage a few times. It’s incredibly powerful. It works like this:
Announce Your Goal: Tell everyone who will listen about your goal. Make sure you tell them about your dream and the specific deadlines you’ve set. Doing this turns your readers, friends, and family into accountability partners.
Make it Hard to Quit: Jerry Seinfield has the goal of writing a joke every day. When he finishes the joke he puts an “X” through the day on his calendar. After years, he has months with a solid string of Xs. He’s motivated because he doesn’t want to break his streak.
You can do the Jerry Seinfield X method or use a site like GiveIt100.com to post daily updates about your goal.
Turning 40 seemed like any other day until I realized that there was likely fewer days ahead of me than behind me. At that point, I started fighting time, doing all that I could to make every moment I drew breath count.
Fighting time means:
Insisting on progress – now. Don’t go to bed unless you’ve made concrete progress toward your goal. For tonight, refuse to close your eyes until you’ve created powerful goals for tomorrow.
Taking control of your time, space, and motivation. Fight distractions like the evil, dream killers they are.
Work with one application window open to fight online distraction. Patiently tell work colleagues that you are unavailable unless it’s urgent. Avoid friends who insist on being “realistic and pragmatic” about YOUR dreams.
Get used to calendars they are the battle map. Your calendar reflects your priorities. When you fight time, calendars are effective tools for stoking motivation and pushing you to keep moving.
Here’s How You Can Get Started Now
Get leverage on yourself and list one of your goals in the comments below. Time to put up or shut up. Remember, I’m in your corner.